Website Spokesperson

November 13th, 2011

Have you ever visited a website and had someone start talking to you.  No not over your shoulder, from the page itself?  I have and I’m still not decided on whether it’s a good thing or not.  I can definitely see it turning off some people, but it’s slick and can give a positive first impression if done well.

These website spokesperson videos are pretty easy and cheap to do.  Cheaper than I would have expected and I’ve just run across one company that does this.

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Panda and Vince – Googles latest updates

November 12th, 2011

And… there was also a caffeine update.  Well, mid October there was an update to Panda – somewhere in there was a Vince update and then caffeine saw an update in early November.  Did you notice a change in the search results?  Do you feel like they’re better or worse?

Panda Gao Gao in San Diego Zoo, USA

Image via Wikipedia

I’ve had several sites that have “fluctuated” through these updates, some better, some worse.  One or two were dramatically worse.

I don’t seem to be alone in seeing some impact and here’s a summary of what the issue is and what to do about it.

Panda is about lowering the importance of sites that are thin in content.  It has been easy to rank sites without much content for some time.  Just throwing a few back links (in many cases also thin on content) and you could do quite well.

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Asheville based Web Design, VPS Hosting and SEO Services

November 2nd, 2011

front view of the cluster of Wikimedia servers...

Image via Wikipedia

Change is constant. The last couple of years I have been doing less onsite computer service. Health has been one large reason for that. I have been focusing on other things though. One of the things that I’ve been working on is now going live. I’ve redesigned my web hosting services. at one point this page was the main site for that, no longer. I have now setup a new page for my Asheville Web Design, Asheville VPS Hosting and Asheville SEO Services. Many of these things I’ve been doing quietly for the last 15 years or so, but now I’ve formalized certain offerings. This is not to say that I am not going to do SEO work or hosting for those outside Asheville, NC. However, that is where I’m based.

Most of my computer related work the last few years has been server related, vps environment setup, maintenance and configuration. 99% of that has been in the linux/unix environment which is typically preferred for web hosting. Further, I have a great depth of experience with wordpress, drupal and joomla. (Especially wordpress.)

The site address is AAAVPSSolutions.com

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Criminal Background Check

October 25th, 2011

When you are hiring someone for most positions a criminal background check is a high priority. Especially if the person you are hiring will interact with your family or with children. The internet has made criminal background checks commonplace and easy to conduct. There are many services that make this an easy and quick process. One such that I have found is inteligator.

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Westernsky.com scam – Beware Shocking Interest Rates

September 26th, 2011

high credit interest rates get some people into trouble

Image via Wikipedia

Absolutely shockingly high interest rates…. Wow. The last year or so I’ve seen a lot of westernsky.com ads. They are an LLC that is native-american owned and operating in the sovereign nation of the Cheyenne River Sioux Reservation. (Within the borders of the US, but federal jurisdiction is on iffy ground there.)

Now, they do say they’re loans are expensive, but they are advertising their loans as being more affordable than many payday loans and I took a look at their site. Read on to see why I call it the westernsky.com scam

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Want to memorize foreign language vocabulary? memrise.com

July 15th, 2011

The Chinese characters for "Hong Kong".

Image via Wikipedia

I have been absolutely addicted. A week ago Thursday I discovered a new site. It was an article over at the makezine blog talking about the benefits of learning mandarin for what they do. I’ve always been intrigued by mandarin – I remember learning a bit of cantonese in Hong Kong and have a short book on chinese symbols. I must admit a lifelong fascination with languages (there’s the study new languages site, my how to learn spanish for beginners site and my onlineradiotv.com site which each have highlights of my interest in languages and the great exposure to other languages that the internet can bring. Anyway…. I’ve used a flash card program for a long time to work on vocabulary (mnemosyne) – I have around 10,000 spanish cards right now – a bunch of french (200) and italian (400) and german (6000+) cards as well. I’ve cracked the book a bit on chinese, but not much. So, one of the resource sites they mentioned was memrise.com

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Drupal 7 and E-Commerce

July 4th, 2011

Drupal 7 has become the flagship version of the content management platform. Last year I was setting up a couple of webstores with Drupal 6 and e-commerce modules (addons) for it collectively called ubercart. Ubercart was somewhat complex but things worked. For the rough edges there were other modules to smooth the edges.

Recently I’ve been working with an install of Drupal 7 and building an e-commerce site. Ubercart is available in a testing state for Drupal 7, but many of the developers have left in favor of a module called Commerce. Which also is in a testing state. What follows is a BRIEF summary of my trials and tribulations in building an ecommerce site with Drupal 7.

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Park Your Virus Impervious Smugness Mac (and Linux) Users

June 21st, 2011

Screenshot of ClamTk 3.08 running on Ubuntu 8....

Image via Wikipedia

I use linux. I prefer it over Windows for many reasons. It’s more resistant to viruses, less of a target, but that doesn’t mean that malware or other viruses are impossible. If someone were to trick me into running something and even worse, trick me into using my administrator password to install something system wide, it could be the same end result as a windows malware infection. To be fair Microsoft has improved their security over the years. They are still the most likely platform though to get a drive by virus just by visiting a site (with no user interaction.) That much said, Mac users and Linux users should avoid being smug. Why? They aren’t completely safe. No one is. Social engineering is the most common (and most effective) path to getting malware on a computer.

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Laptop Woes, Customer Service Headaches and a New Laptop

June 21st, 2011

It seems that things happen in clusters, sometimes it’s more of a chain reaction. My longtime working laptop lost the ability to backlight the display. Yes, the backlight is replacable with a couple hours tear down and rebuild. Of course, they’re fragile parts and although I’ve replaced them in the past. I’ve got to a point that I didn’t feel it was worth it. The laptop was a ~1Ghz single core PIII or PIV with 2GB of memory. It has had flakey wireless lately, sometimes the machine will wake up and the wireless isn’t working. It’s clone had died with a power switch issue that could have only been solved with a motherboard replacement. So, I switched to an older spare while I ordered a replacement from Dell.

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Kindle With Special Offers Debuts at $114

April 12th, 2011

So, today there is an advertising supported kindle that sells for $25 less than its cheapest cousin which is the kindle wifi. What will it look like? The screensavers are one place that ads will show up. Also at the bottom of the home page. (It appears that you won’t have ads in the middle of your book.) I’m wondering if a $25 discount is enough to encourage someone to go for this version over the wifi?

It’s hard for me to say since I went ahead and sprung for the 3g version at $189. From their descriptions the advertising support seems relatively unobtrusive. (Much less so than google ads…. I could see them setting aside a part of EACH page of a text to put ads which would be annoying.)

So what do you think – will the $25 discount make for more sales?

Is any kind of advertising too much on this kind of device?

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